Spring is here, and summer is around the corner! The perfect weather and surplus of activities encourages people to get out, get moving and exercise, but there’s never enough time to enjoy it all and still maintain your usual routine. Are you one of the many that made New Year’s fitness resolutions? Sometimes you need to miss a workout due to work, school or personal obligations. Don’t get discouraged when sometimes turns into often. It’s a myth that you need at least an hour and a lot of equipment to complete an effective workout. All you need is attitude.
A Little Exercise Science
Short duration and High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) – sound familiar? Ever take the time to understand it? A great example is the Tabata Protocol discovered by Sport and Health Science Professor Izumi Tabata. His team documented that athletes training with this regiment could be exhausted in as little as four minutes. He also noticed that any motivated person can achieve the same results. This is not some new fitness craze; this was back in 1997! So why aren’t more people using this? It’s a misconception that long duration exercise provides greater benefits.
I say it all the time, “nothing worthwhile is easy.” High intensity means you have to give your best effort. This does not mean 100 percent every time until you’re about to vomit — but you still have to work hard.
Using the Tabata as an example, you run up and down a flight of stairs for 20 seconds and then stop for 10 seconds. Repeat this for eight intervals. If you gave your best effort, you will feel exhausted in four minutes. Cheers; you just completed a workout! You don’t have to use Tabata and stairs all the time, but you get the idea. Switch up the exercises and intervals, e.g. run fast using a 30/30 time split. Extend the workout to at least 15 minutes to gain the best hormonal response from your body, i.e. Exercise Post Oxygen Consumption (EPOC).
If you have access to some equipment
Warm up with intervals on any cardio machine or jumping jacks, jump ropes, etc. using the Tabata Protocol described above (four minutes). Then perform three, whole body movements for 10 minutes, 20-25 repetitions each. Try dumbbell swings, squat thrusters and hanging leg raises. Only rest for as much time as it takes to change exercises. Finish with another four minutes of intervals.
If there’s no access to a gym
Get a deck of cards, and shuffle well, with jokers. Aces = 1, Jacks = 11, Queens = 12, Kings = 13, Jokers = pass, and all other cards are face value. Pick three to four exercises, e.g. squats, push-ups, sit-ups and burpees. Keep the order of the exercises the same for every round. Flip over a card, and complete that number of repetitions for the exercise you’re on. Repeat rounds for 15-20 minutes stopping as little as possible.
Be Nice to Yourself
Get creative, and try different exercises, but be careful. If it seems too complex and you’ve never had anyone teach you proper form, then try something else. Also, listen to your body. There’s a difference between good and bad pain. Make sure to strengthen, not strain. Focus on controlling your breathing, try to have some fun even if you have to fake a smile, and be excited that you just completed another session.